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Keynote Talk: The Dance of the Seven Veils: Privacy and its Discourses

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OFBW31 - Engaging People in Data Privacy

The concept of privacy has divided lawyers, scholars and policymakers for decades, not only in terms of whether it is a good or bad thing, but even what it is. Daniel Solove calls it a 'concept in disarray' and Jeff Jarvis sees only a 'confused web of worries'. Some say it is a human right, some that it is a prerequisite for democracy; others note that individuals are prone to breaching their own privacy and are remarkably relaxed about it, and have described various privacy paradoxes or other common inconsistencies in attitude; some argue that it is unenforceable; still others argue that it is a blocker to the knowledge economy and the socially-beneficial use of big data; and many more say that whatever its merits it is dead. In this talk, Kieron O'Hara will argue that the reason for this apparently confused disarray is that different privacy discourses are going on simultaneously, talking past each other and cheerfully committing various category errors. He sets out a series of seven types of privacy discussion, which are distinct but relatable to each other, as a first step towards clearing up some of the confusion.

This talk is part of the Isaac Newton Institute Seminar Series series.

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